Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Starring my Brother . . .

Why is there a picture of Monty Python's SPAMALOT on my blog, you ask?  Because if you look ever so closely at the grail, just to the right of King Arthur, you will see MY BROTHER, who will be playing Patsy in this production in Ogunquit, Maine. 
You may also recognize Charles Shaunessy as the father from the series "The Nanny."  He is a well known Broadway performer, as is Rachel York, who I know as Margurite from The Scarlet Pimpernel. 
This is a big deal for my wonderful brother, who has been auditioning in New York for over 8 months straight, without a single sign of hope.
Then all at once, he was given a job in My Fair Lady at a regional theater.  He was asked to come back to Jackson to perform as Buffalo Bill in Annie Get Your Gun; he was asked to audition for How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying in New York.  He got an agent (which is much more about the agent picking you than you picking the agent.)  And then, he was called - virtually out of the blue - to play the role of
Patsy in SPAMALOT.
Oh, and did I mention that he was also asked to Franki Camp?  It's a five day long "audition" where he learns the music and mannerisms of Franki Vallie (you know, "Walk Like a Man?")  This is awesome because Franki is the LEAD character in the Broadway production Jersey Boys, and my talented little brother is considered for such a role.  It's due in large part to his VERY impressive vocal range. 
I'm just so happy for him. 
He has worked very hard at a very hard business.  And after years of trying, learning, taking classes, getting to know people and proving to those people that he's in it for the long haul, he is getting his first big chance. 
I will keep you posted with any further pictures or clips I can find online. 

As I have said, this has been an INCREDIBLE summer for the Stevens Family. 

Saturday, August 14, 2010

My Sister's Wedding Day

Yesterday Auntie became Mrs. Bredthaur.  Or, as her previous students said it, "Mrs. Scottie Hottie."

Here are some pictures Muad'Dib was able to take of the day's events:

Rivulet's hair in the morning.
Lemur at the Temple.  Please note the missing front tooth.  It fell out as he slept the night before ! :)
My Little Cinderella . . .

The kids giving Muad'Dib a "real smile."
Cousins and family galore!  Even Little Brother was able to come in from Maine! Can you find his laughing, smiling face?

Here Lemur shows us his future "Calvin Klein" modeling capabilities.

I was SO glad to see my Grandma!  It was a surprise to us all that she made it there!

The Temple

The kids had their meltdown earlier in the day. In fact, what you see of Lemur below was just the beginning. He didn't smile for ANY of the wedding pictures until I was able to take him aside and explain to him that he wasn't a player in this production. He was a prop. He was like the stick I used as the Witch. All he needed to do was be where we told him to be and smile like he meant it.

Somehow, that's what got through to him.  Everything was fine after that.


Then at the reception, Muad'Dib did a photo shoot with my older brother and his darling wife.

And here are some of the Bridal Pictures I took of AJ up in Afton, Wyoming.
Most of these were displayed on the tables at the reception.  But a few had a more special setting.
Wildman (my brother-in-law) made some beautiful frames which housed these pictures.

What made the frames super awesome was that they were made of wood that was once used as the roof of the barn on the Michaelson Family Homestead, a barn that was built by our Great-grandfather. 

AJ had always wanted her Bridals taken on the Ranch.  We both have always felt very strongly about Afton; a deep sense of home, of past connected with present and blooming with future.

This is AJ's favorite picture.  "The One" as we call it.  This picture will hang in her new home, forever encased in the beautiful heirloom barn-wood frame. 

My sister is MARRIED! 
It was SUCH an incredible day.  This has been such an incredible YEAR!!!
Not only did she finish school, get her Masters Degree, and go to China, she also fell in love, had someone love her - become devoted to her! -, she got engaged to this wonderful man, and yesterday she married him.  And all on the same day, she became Lucy's 'Nother Mother.   I don't like saying she's the "New mother."  Lucy's mother is never far.  AJ is not replacing.  She is adding to.  And I stand in awe of her ability to be a good mother.  I mean, right off the bat: jumping in on motherhood without the incubation period, without the cuddly infant years, just right in there at the Terrible Two's and into Three-hood.  If anyone doesn't know the full story, I may have to share it. 

For the time being, though, I'm just filled with so much love!  I sobbed in the temple.  I sobbed at the luncheon and I ran myself ragged during the reception to avoid sobbing.  Then I watched my sister walk to her car, hand in hand with her husband and I could not keep tears of joy at bay. 

Scott is wonderful!  Lucy is wonderful!  The day was bright and glorious and filled with all good things.  I am just ever so happy for my beloved sister.  I am sobbing again.  How wonderful!

Friday, August 6, 2010

And what would be lost?

The late summer storm clouds are about to obscure my view of brightest star in the western sky.  They have been moving in this direction for some time now, but I hoped they would spare the star.  I take comfort in knowing that when the clouds pass, the star will be there.  Yes, the star is above the clouds.  It is above the rain and even above the sun.  It has been a great marvel to look out over the valley and see lightning, clouds so dark they hide the eastern mountains in their plaque, and still to the east a sunset to take my breath away. 

Thunder rolls to my left as pink ripens to deep purplish-orange on my right. I hear children gasp in wonder at the sight of a particularly impressive slash of lightning. Rain teases softly on my rooftop, plucking at leaves until it seems the trees themselves shudder with giddy anticipation.  Too long they have roasted in the sun, too long relied on our piped water to sustain them, when all they truly desire is a good, hard rain.

My husband laughs in the living room, and a breeze stirs the aspen across the street.  The storm draws closer.  More lightning rips the sky, and I wonder at the dancing silhouettes before me.  Sometimes I wonder if I am the light or the thing that blocks it. 

I hear a single cricket; quite the change from the usual chorus that sings us to sleep most nights.  And now even he, my solitary serenader, has fallen silent.  As I write, things change.  Time moves on.  Clouds roil and churn overhead with a calm that belies their inner machinations. 

How is it that I may see God's hand where ever I look?  Not long ago I mentioned to my sister that sometimes it was hard for me to pray before bed because I felt that I had prayed so often all day that I could not imagine God wanted to hear from me more.  Her answer was very much like her.  She said, "It seems to me that if you see God everywhere, and thank him all day for each blessing you recognize: that is the definition of "the pure in heart.'" 

I shy away from that definition, for obvious reasons.  Perhaps they are only obvious to me:  I dare not agree outright, because I fear the term "pure," let alone the idea of asserting that I am "pure in heart."  I have worked a good deal over the past year to be actively grateful for all I see, hear, feel, learn and experience.  I try, and sometimes I fail, though my failures are not stacking up too high these days, in this area. 

The sunlight is nearly spent entirely.  Now the lightning is even more impressive as it tears asunder the darkness that stretches over the valley.  The thunder more ominous because it comes from an unseen place, echoing back and forth between the mountains. 

I saw a neighbor girl outside today.  She saw the rain and came out in it, just as I had.  I have often joked that when the sun is out, my children are in.  And when the rain comes to play, so do my children.  It is true of myself.  That is likely where they get the notion. 

Late summer rains are some of my favorites.  I remember nine summers ago now when in rehearsal for West Side Story, that it poured rain near the end of the night.  I and my three best friends of the time ran into the shower headlong and danced in it.  No stitch of clothing was spared.  We were drenched.  The rain smelled of salt and dirt.  Our laughter rivaled the thunder for boisterousness.  Whenever it rains in the summer, this is the memory that comes to me.

One year ago tonight, I opened as the Witch in "Into the Woods". How long ago that seems! How quickly this year has passed.  Four years ago, I brought home my second child.  In the rain.  I remember it raining the second day Rivulet was in this world.  It rained so hard that the power went out and she and I slept together in my hospital bed, as there was no nurse to retrieve her.  The sound of her breathing still sooths me to sleep, as does the sound of the rain.

I am so grateful, for ever so many things.  Most importantly tonight I am grateful for the advice and the permission I was given a few days ago, all of it wrapped up in one word:  "Live."  Not to imply that I would die...but I was in the process of putting myself and other things "on hold."  Living means to be actively engaged.  To enjoy, to be grateful, to experience without regret the exspendature of time.  Two good men have advised me thus, and I feel it my soul that I must obey.  And in the words of my favorite God Emperor, "Is not your obedience instructive?"

It is dark now, from the west to the east, the north to the south.  The lightning has not subsided - nor has my desire to write - but I have perhaps run out of things to say for the time being.  At least in this vein.  I cannot say exactly why this has become my way: writing and expressing where once the purpose of the blog was to document and update daily happenings.  Sometimes I wish it were the latter instead of the former.  But then I remember that what is is, and I have a truer desire to share my thoughts and feelings than to recount the actions of my days.  My actions speak of themselves, and say something different to everyone.  I am the only one who can say and write MY words.  If I don't, no one will.